Genomic characterization of hepatoid tumors: context matters

Hum Pathol. 2021 Dec:118:30-41. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2021.09.006. Epub 2021 Sep 22.


Hepatoid tumors (HT) are rare neoplasms morphologically resembling hepatocellular carcinoma, which arise in several organs other than the liver. A comprehensive molecular profile of this group of neoplasms is still lacking. Genomic characterization of 19 HTs from different organs (three colon HTs, four esophagogastric HTs, four biliary HTs, six genitourinary HTs, two lung HTs) was performed using a multigene next-generation sequencing panel. NGS unraveled a composite molecular profile of HT. Their genetic alterations were clearly clustered by tumor site: (i) colorectal HT displayed microsatellite instability, high tumor mutational burden, mutations in ARID1A/B genes and NCOA4-RET gene fusion (2/3 cases); (ii) gastric HT had TP53 mutations (2/4); (iii) biliary HT displayed loss of CDKN2A (3/4) and loss of chromosome 18 (2/4); (iv) genital HT showed gain of chromosome 12 (3/6); (v) lung HT had STK11 somatic mutations (2/2). The only commonly mutated gene occurring in HT of different sites was TP53 (8/19 cases: colon 2, esophagogastric 2, biliary 2, genital 1, lungs 1). This study shows that most genetic alterations of HT were clustered by site, indicating that context matters. The novel potential targets for HT precision oncology are also clustered based on the anatomic origin. This study shed light on the biology of these rare cancers and may have important consequences for treatment decisions and clinical trial selection for HT patients.

Keywords: Hepatoid; Microsatellite instability; NGS; RET fusions; STK11.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma / genetics*
  • Digestive System Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Urogenital Neoplasms / genetics*